Non-viral vectors based on cationic niosomes as efficient gene delivery vehicles to central nervous system cells into the brain

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Development of safe and efficient non-viral vectors to deliver DNA into the CNS represents a huge challenge to face many neurological disorders. We elaborated niosomes based on DOTMA cationic lipid, lycopene “helper” lipid and polysorbate 60 as non-ionic surfactants for gene delivery to the CNS. Niosomes, and their corresponding nioplexes obtained after the addition of the pCMS-EGFP plasmid, were characterized in terms of size, charge, morphology and capacity to condense, release and protect DNA. In vitro experiments were performed in NT2 cells to evaluate transfection efficiency, viability, cellular uptake and intracellular distribution. Additionally, transfection in primary cortex cells were performed prior to brain administration into rat cerebral cortex. Data obtained showed that nioplexes exhibited not only adequate physicochemical properties for gene delivery applications, but also relevant transfection efficiencies (17%), without hampering viability (90%). Interestingly, In vivo experiments depicted promising protein expression in both cortical glial cells and blood vessels.

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